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Balamand marks 20th year of promoting education.

Byline: Daily Star Staff

Summary: Nearly 750 students graduated from Balamand University on Monday, as the university celebrated the 20th anniversary of its creation. The commencement ceremony was held at Balamand's main campus in Koura, North Lebanon. In addition to the university's administrators and the families of graduating students.

BEIRUT: Nearly 750 students graduated from Balamand University on Monday, as the university celebrated the 20th anniversary of its creation. The commencement ceremony was held at Balamand's main campus in Koura, North Lebanon. In addition to the university's administrators and the families of graduating students, newly appointed Information Minister Tarek Mitri attended.

After teachers and students marched into the campus to the sound of a Wagner piece played by the Internal Security Forces orchestra, led by conductor Ziad Mrad, the graduates and the crowd stood up for the Lebanese national anthem.

"Who would have thought, 20 years ago, that this rocky no-man's land inhabited by wild herbs would turn into one of the world's most prestigious universities?" said Ignatius IV Hazim, Patriarch of Antioch and the East, who spoke at the commencement.

He added that, 20 years ago, the university's administration had a noble dream: to serve the people "seeking neither reward nor benefits."

"We were not aiming to build an elitist institution that would only serve a minority ... In fact, we were seeking quite the opposite - we were looking forward to liberalizing higher education and making it accessible to everyone," he said

He added that Balamand University's goal is to spread education and make it accessible to all, to be open to the needy and not only the wealthy, he said.

"The university has prospered; its humanitarian project grew and developed and every single member of its staff represents our institution's message of giving and sharing," he said.

The patriarch also hoped that all the university's students would take advantage of its "treasures of culture, education and knowledge, whicha no one can keep to himself."

He added that he was proud of the university's achievements, as well as its prestigious position in Lebanon, the Middle East and the world. "All we have to do now is keep on boosting education in order to achieve concrete changes"

After the speech, students received their degrees in front of a crowd of hundreds of proud parents. - The Daily Star

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Publication:The Daily Star (Beirut, Lebanon)
Date:Jul 24, 2008
Words:404
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